A small Nigerian air force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja airport after reporting engine failure on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, the air force said.
The plane, a Beechcraft King Air 350i, was on its way to the city of Minna, 110 kilometres (68 miles) northwest of the capital, air force spokesman Ibikunle Daramole said in a statement.
The aircraft “crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure”, said Daramole. “First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all seven personnel on board died in the crash.”
The chief of the air force has ordered an investigation into the accident, Daramole said.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement sent his condolences to the air force and families of the victims, saying he was “deeply saddened by the fatal crash”.
In scrubland just outside the airport perimeter, dozens of military and airport officials picked through the charred remnants of the fuselage as fire engines and ambulances stood by.
The smell of burning chemicals lingered in the air but no fire or smoke were visible. Onlookers watched the rescue efforts from behind a cordon.
Visuals of the crash site show black clouds of smoke over parts of the shattered plane. Witnesses told local media they saw the plane struggling to turn around and get back to the airport before the plane exploded.
The air force did not provide the identities of those killed in the crash.
The Beechcraft King Air 350i is a twin-propeller aircraft made by Textron Aviation, a unit of the U.S.-based Textron Inc conglomerate. The model was first released around 2009.
The company said in a statement that it had been notified of the accident, which it said is being investigated by Nigeria’s Aircraft Investigation Bureau and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.